Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble

Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

A few years ago, I planted one lonely thornless blackberry twig in my backyard.  I nursed it and took care of it.  But then I ran over it with a lawnmower….then I nursed it again.  And now, I have 20 feet of blackberry bushes lining one full side of my backyard fence.   It is a race between me, the squirrels, and the birds to see who can nab the blackberries first.

Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

There may have been a time or two that I have stood in my backyard, gorging myself on these fresh thumb-sized blackberries. I’m too excited about the harvest and will eat so many that there isn’t any left to bring inside!  I stare at my purple soaked fingers and sort of feel bad that I haven’t shared any with my husband… so naturally I have to lie and tell him that the birds got them… ALL. yes.. All of them. right out of my hands. It was a tragedy. Crying, Thrashing. Feathers everywhere. I promise I tried. They were ferocious….. But my purple lips and seeded teeth tell the real truth.

Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So needless to say I owed my husband some blackberry goodness. I gathered up a good bundle of blackberries and baked him this skillet gluten-free nectarine and blackberry crumble.  He was pretty excited… mainly because he could add ice cream to it. I swear, that man would be happy with a dirt cobbler as long as you could put ice cream on it.:)

This recipe is my standard crumble topping.  I use it on tons of different fruit crumbles. I added some lemon zest to the crumble to give it a light summery zip.  You could easily swap out the fruit in this filling with peaches, raspberries, blueberries, etc.  It is really easy to throw together for summer gatherings to use up all that fresh fruit produce that is flooding the markets. So give yourself and the ones you love a warm and awesome summer treat!

Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Gluten Free Nectarine and Blackberry Crumble

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Fruit Filling

  • 6 nectarines (Halved, pitted, and sliced with peel)
  • 1 cup of blackberries
  • juice from 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Gluten Free Oat Crumble Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
  •  1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter (plus a little extra to grease the baking dish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter a 9-inch cast iron skillet or 8X8-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all of the fruit filling ingredients. Spoon the fruit filling into the prepared skillet or baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the topping ingredients. Mix the ingredients until it is crumbly and moistened. Lightly sprinkle the oat crumble mixture over the fruit filling evenly.
  4. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (or until the filling is bubbling and the crumble top is lightly golden brown). Remove the crumble from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.  This is delicious with vanilla ice cream for dessert or plain greek yogurt for breakfast!

Super Green Spring Salad

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s spring! And my garden is blooming and booming. I’ve been eating this Super Green Spring Salad every chance I get since all of the ingredients are directly from my garden… delicate lettuce, baby kale, bright broccoli with pretty tiny yellow flowers, crisp sugar peas, mint, chives. This salad is less of a recipe, and more of a throw-together spring green treat!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But, I should pause and preface this delicious garden post with the fact that I am not a good gardener. Seriously. I’m bad. Plants shrivel at my touch. They tell their other plant friends to run and hide when I decide to buy them. Any success I have at gardening is not my doing. Plants thrive in my garden in spite of me. I just wish I was a good gardener like my grandmother was. She could make anything grow and she could make you think that you could do it too. *sigh*

The first year we moved to Kansas City, I decided that I wanted to BE A GARDENER! (p.s. I said this with both hands on my hips and in a booming voice).  This is a laughable statement because at the time I killed anything in a pot in my house and at one point was scared to even get a pet because I couldn’t even keep a plant alive!

But, dangit, I was going to finally try to grow a garden and feed myself and eat healthy and get dirt in my fingers and sweat and love it and bring bushels of food in at the end of the day and sigh and say “way to go me!”.  So I bought three tomato plants and marched into the backyard of our new rent house with a shovel and a prideful grin on my face.  Like a blind settler deciding on their perfect plot of land, I just shoved my shovel into the hard clay ground next to the fence and dug three holes. That’s it. I just stuck the tomato plants in the ground as if I were planting flowers.  But, despite my ineptitude and lack of reading up on “how to grow tomatoes“, I ended up with some darn good tomatoes that year. Those plants grew over 8 feet tall! I even canned tomato sauce! Yeah. All that from just digging three holes…..and praying like hell and battling thieving squirrels!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Basically, I kill any plant that is not in the ground. If it is up to me, all plants would die. However, after I put the plant in the ground, I cross my fingers that mother nature will take over and that she’ll be the true gardener.  I depend on her to water my garden too. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do…it’s just what I do…as a bad gardener!

Also, as a bad gardener, I don’t weed. I should…but I don’t. I feel like everything should be given a fighting chance.  My husband goes out to my garden and tries to weed things and I freak out. FREAK out. I’m scared that he’s going to pull a baby beet or a baby kale or maybe just a baby, hell I don’t know. “NOOOOO! That’s a blah blah blah and I wanted it there…. yeah. I WANTED that weed.”

Sorry, I’m super protective of my garden… even if it’s a weed box. Back off!

As a bad gardener, I plant things too close together. My husband always tries to correct my eagerness to cram as much as possible into our tiny raised beds. But I tend to say, “Space shmace. If you want to survive, you gotta try harder Mr tomato!!!!”.   This doesn’t always work out….buuuut, I won’t admit that to him.

But this year, six years into BEING A GARDENER, my garden is growing like a REAL garden!  Thank you again, mother nature. I have one of the biggest lettuce crops (which love these cool temps and tons of rain that KC has gotten this spring). I also have gorgeous broccoli heads! Oh and peas! I have snow peas climbing a trellis (actually it’s a defunct hand rain I pulled off my outdoor stairs) and tiny pea pods dangling everywhere! Kale is coming up like a champ! Baby beets are gearing up and their greens are getting taller.  I’m even growing brussels sprouts and cauliflower for the first time. Way to go me! I hope my grandma would be proud. I think she’d also really love this Super Green Spring Salad that I’ve been making from all of my garden goodies!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I mention my lack of gardening skills in order to encourage anyone that loves fresh produce but may be scared to begin their own garden because, like me, they are terrible with plants. But don’t be scared. Just go do it!  What do you have to lose? A few bucks on a pack of seeds? You’ll fail, but you will also succeed and learn from those mistakes.  Man, I sure sound like an after school special, don’t I?  Anyways, I love seeing what new things I can grow. Nothing is better to me than walking outside my door to my own farmer’s market!

On this Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to branch out, dig a whole, plant something.  Plant something in honor of the one’s that you have loved and in their memory.  And then every time you go out to tend to it and get dirt on your fingers and sweat on your brow and harvest your fresh amazing produce, you can remember them and realize that their memory lives on. But also, don’t forget to give yourself a high-five from them and say “way to go!” (but say it with both hands on your hips and in a booming voice).

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Note – This salad does not really have a set list of ingredients and can morph into whatever you have on hand. I have provided a gentle guide for what I like to use, but feel free to mix and match with whatever greens you have on hand or can spot at your local farmer’s market.  

Ingredients for the Salad

  • Four generous handfuls of spring greens mix (such as, leaf lettuce, baby kale, arugula, beet greens, etc.), gently rinse and dry
  • Handful of fresh sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • Two small heads of broccoli
  • Handful of fresh herbs (such as mint, dill, chives, cilantro)

Ingredients for the Lemon Vinaigrette 

  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice the snow peas or sugar peas in half or into bite-size pieces if they are large. If they are small, you can keep them whole. Whatever you choose.
  2. Chop the broccoli florets from the stalk. Chop the florets into small portions. Cut off the bottom fibrous portion of the stalk and chop the tender portion into 1/4-inch bite-size pieces.
  3. Place the lettuce, peas, broccoli, and herbs into a large bowl.
  4. Place all vinaigrette ingredients into a lidded jar. Shake vigorously until well mixed. Just before serving, drizzle about 1/3 cup of the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Place leftover dressing in the fridge or add more if needed.

Suggested toppings:

  • Optional Protein Toppings: chicken, quinoa, boiled egg, chicken sausage, fish
  • Optional Misc Toppings: sunflower seeds, roasted nuts, crumbled feta, shaved parmesan, goat cheese

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

DSC_0307

I still remember the first time that I tried rhubarb.  It was probably 10 years ago. I had wanted to try it, but just hadn’t had the chance (I guess) living in suburbia Oklahoma and just didn’t have the inclination to go hunt for it.

But one summer night, I was out working a 12 hour shift doing field work for my Master’s degree and my husband was babysitting my littlest sister who was only 6 at the time. Since they are both the adventurous type, and neither of them really knew how to cook…. they decided to make me a rhubarb cobbler as a surprise treat for when I got home.

I was so surprised when I walked in the door and smelled that amazing smell. It was seriously the best cobbler I had ever eaten. (Maybe it was because I had just worked 12 long hours in the hot summer sun.) But it really was the perfect blend of tartness and sweetness. Just like my husband and my sister Olivia. Sweet and tart!:)  They began my obsession with this fabulous spring plant…ooooh rhubarb!

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Since that first magical cobbler that they made for me ten years ago, I have had quite a love affair with rhubarb. Rhubarb is a perennial that will come back year after year when planted in a good location. My rhubarb plant always lets me know when spring is near, because it begins to sprout its long stalks and leaves when temps rise above 40 F.

Rhubarb can be used in so many recipes: tarts, cobblers, pies, salsa, sauces, and this amazing curd! Yeaaaaaaaaah. Curd doesn’t have to be reserved for citrus! This Rhubarb Strawberry Curd is hands down my favorite. I decided to add some frozen strawberries that I had in order to boost the pink color of the curd.  Feel free to adjust the ratio of rhubarb to strawberries to suit your own tastes.

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

This Rhubarb Strawberry Curd can easily be used to fill a pie or tart crust for an easy dessert. The extra egg whites can be whipped up as a meringue for the top too! I went the easy route this time and I mixed mine in greek yogurt for a delicious breakfast and midday snack! Either way, I know that this will be a favorite for all you rhubarb lovers!

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Rhubarb Strawberry Curd

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 5 trimmed stalks)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 eggs, yolks separated (reserve whites for another use)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. In a heavy saucepan placed over medium heat, cook rhubarb, strawberries, water, and 3 tablespoons of honey for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently and smashing the fruit with the back of spoon. Mixture will begin to fall apart and look mushy. Turn off heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor and puree smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, cream the butter and the honey together until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs slowly. Slowly add the rhubarb and strawberry mixture, whisking constantly until completely combined.
  4. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized, non-reactive saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly with either a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the mixture has thickened to jelly consistency, about 10-12 minutes.  Do not let the curd boil! Pull the pan off the stove before it gets to that stage. The curd is done when it coats the back of a spatula or leaves a clear path when pulled through the mixture.
  5. Remove from heat allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour curd mixture into a clean glass jar, but let it cool completely before you screw on the lid. You can even place the filled jar in the freezer (without the lid) for about 15 minutes and then remove from freezer and place the lid on the jar. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Note – Recipe adapted from Dolly and Oatmeal.

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce (Gluten Free)

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

I really have to admit that, honestly, this Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce is one of my favorite dishes that I have ever made.

Honestly. Ever. I don’t know whether the magic of the sauce is from the morels or from the sherry-based sauce..or the heavy cream. Who knows. It’s good. Real good.

I came home to a huge bag of fresh picked morel mushrooms on my doorstep! A friend of mine foraged for them and thankfully decided to share his treasure! These puppies can go for as much as $40 per pound! We are eating like royalty over here!

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

With such a large bundle of morel mushroom-delights, I decided to prepare a recipe that was provincial and special: a french morel mushroom sauce.  This sauce deserves a trumpet of announcement. It deserves to be served in a bowl with amazing a crusty baguette, if you can have it. Sop it up. Don’t waste this sauce. With only 1/2 cup of heavy cream added at the end, the sauce is not heavy but it is substantial. I also think that adding champagne vinegar or lemon juice at the end really brings this sauce home with a small acidic kick.

Note – If you are unable to get fresh morel mushrooms, either substitute the mushrooms for equal quantity of cremini or shiitake OR go online and purchase about 2 oz of dry morels. If using dry morels, you will need to rehydrate them. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat off and add the morels to the saucepan. Cover the saucepan and soak the mushrooms for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Remove the rehydrated mushrooms out of the soaking liquid using a slotted spoon, gently squeezing out the excess liquid back into the saucepan. Reserve the soaking liquid. 

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 3 pounds of bone in chicken thighs or breasts (skin removed)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion or shallot
  • 1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, washed and cut in half if large (this is how I wash my morels)*
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper up to one day in advance.
  2. Add olive oil (or butter) in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet bone side up, and cook about 6 minutes per side, turning once.  Allow the chicken to become golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
  3. Lower the heat to medium. If needed, add another tablespoon of olive oil and then add onion (or shallots). Sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add washed morel mushrooms and sauté for a few more minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the mushrooms to a separate plate. Add dry sherry to skillet and bring to a boil. Allow the sherry to reduce by half (about 2 minutes). Add chicken stock and chicken to skillet and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the skillet with a lid placed slightly ajar. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Check chicken after 20 minutes. After cooked through, transfer the chicken to a platter.
  4. Add the mushrooms back to the skillet. Add cream, vinegar, and thyme. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter. Sprinkle with additional cracked pepper and fresh thyme, if desired.

Notes – recipe adapted from here and here.

Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

DSC_0375

We all need a little treat now and then.  For me, my favorite treat is always peanut butter eggs or dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Swooooooon. I don’t have them often, but when I do, I prefer the mini ones because I can have more than one and not feel so bad. I also am like a squirrel and like to save them, placing them in weird places in our house (hiding them from my chocoholic husband).

We hosted a huge Easter gathering at our house this year and had 30 people in our tiny and cozy little abode.  It was a lot of fun because I had a game plan: only make stress free food! This would ensure that I could enjoy my family and not appear like a crazed woman. One of the stress free foods that I made were these amazing Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs.

Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

My sister and I whipped up these easy peasy peanut butter eggs a day in advance. They didn’t take much time and they were a great tiny sweet treat for people to pop one, two, or five eggs into their mouth.

Did I mention that these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs are made with only FOUR ingredients? FOUR.  They are very very very easy to make and very very very easy to eat. Too easy. But hey, on the bright side, they are made with all natural ingredients and are only 70 calories per egg. Boom!

Homemade Four Ingredient Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

  • Servings: 60 eggs
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cups creamy salted natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 oz dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Using either an electric mixer or a food processor, thoroughly mix the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla on high-speed for several minutes until the mixture turns into a thick ball of peanut butter dough. Depending on the time of year and humidity in your kitchen, a tablespoon of water may need to be added to the mixture so that it will come together like dough. You can also pull it out of the mixing bowl and work it by hand for it to come together at the end after mixing it.
  2. Place parchment paper or waxed paper on a rimmed baking sheet or inside several glass pyrex baking dishes.
  3. Take a tablespoon of the peanut butter dough and use your hands to shape into a ball or egg shape, if you are feeling eggy. Place the balls (or eggs) onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.  Continue making the peanut butter eggs or balls until all of the dough is used. Depending on the size of your eggs, this recipe makes between 50 and 60 peanut butter eggs. Chill the peanut butter eggs in the freezer for 1 hour or in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. When you are ready to coat the peanut butter eggs in chocolate, place the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring between until the chocolate is melted.
  5. Remove the peanut butter eggs from the freezer. Place one egg at a time into the chocolate and roll around until covered. Remove using a large fork placed under the egg and allow the excess chocolate to drip from the egg. Place the dipped egg on the parchment paper to harden. Store in the refrigerator until time to serve.

*Note – for a paleo-friendly version or for those that are allergic to peanuts, almond butter could be used instead.

Baked Lamb Stew (Gluten Free and Paleo-Friendly)

Lamb Stew / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Paleo, Gluten Free)

For my birthday, a friend of mine gave me an amazing cookbook by Rachel Khoo called My Little French Kitchen.  I’ve been wrapped up in her delicious recipes, bright photos, and lovely stories about exploring regional french cuisine as she travels all around France! Ugh…Tough job, I know.  I try not to get too bitter at the picturesque seaside photos around Normandy and the nonstop lavender fields of Provance…especially when my fingers are numb by just driving my car to work. Spring needs to come quickly.

As we say goodbye to winter, I am still cooking up stews and comfort meals. This cookbook offers plenty of that as well.  There is a wonderful section in her book about Alsace, a northeastern region of France, bordering Germany.  The recipes in this section are hearty, winter-loving, comfort foods.  One of my favorite recipes in the Alsace region of her book is called Baeckeoffe or “Baker’s Oven Stew”.  The history behind the stew refers to a time when french women would often bring this casserole to the baker in the morning on their way to the river to wash their clothes.  The baker would bake it in the coolest part of the oven all day. The women would then pick up the baked stew and a loaf of bread for dinner on their way home.  Hence the name Baeckeoffe or literally Baker’s Oven.

Lamb Stew / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Paleo, Gluten Free)

Lamb Stew / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Paleo, Gluten Free)

As I started thinking more and more about that story, I couldn’t help but feel so sorry for those poor women. Those women had to lug that huuuuge cast iron casserole pot full of meat and wine to the baker’s shop PLUS haul their whole families’ stinky laundry to the river in the winter! Then they spent all day doing laundry in a cold river. They then had to pick up a fiery hot casserole and hoped that they wouldn’t drop it or get on their newly cleaned clothes. Hmm…Makes my issues seem pretty petty.

The original recipe used several different cuts of beef (oxtail and beef cheeks) and none of the spices that I mention below.  Buuuuut I had a leg of lamb staring me down in my freezer that needed to be used.  So there. I decided to adapt the recipe by using lamb and several warming spices such as cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and smoked paprika.  These spices pair very well with lamb. It gave the stew a hearty and warm balance.  If you don’t have lamb, you can sub out a 3-pound chuck roast and leave out the cinnamon and coriander. This stew is so easy and can be easily adjusted for whatever you have on hand.  Don’t have red wine? Use white. Don’t have white? Use chicken or beef stock.  Seriously… this is like the compost of all stews. And yet it comes out like magic.

Lamb Stew / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Paleo, Gluten Free)

Oh and let’s talk about that lovely top, shall we?  It is just a butternut squash and a sweet potato that have been thinly sliced and layered around like a flower petal.  It’s quite a treat to take the top off of this stew when it is done and see that beautiful rose and smell the amazingness that wafts out. Just think of it as your winter flower.

Lamb Stew / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Paleo, Gluten Free)

Baked Lamb Stew

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 3 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices

Instructions

  1. Place the lamb in a large glass bowl or baking dish and toss with the cinnamon, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, garlic, and pepper.  Use your hands to massage the seasonings into the lamb meat. Pour the wine over the meat so that it is submerged. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (and up to 24 hours).
  2. When ready to cook the stew, preheat the oven to 325F. Remove the marinated lamb from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cook time.
  3. In a large 6 to 8-quart Dutch oven, add lamb and marinade, onions, carrots, tomatoes with juice, water, bay leaves, and parsley. Stir and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat.
  4. Neatly and tightly place thin slices of squash and potato around the edge of the pot.  The layers will begin to look like flower petals as shown in the above pictures. Continue layering the slices and lay them over the top of the stew until it is covered. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the stew and then place the lid on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 3 to 4 hours, until the lamb is tender. Remove the lid and parchment paper.  Increase the heat to 450 F and bake for 5 to 10 minutes to crisp the top. Serve immediately.

Notes – you can easily use a 3-pound chuck roast in this recipe instead of lamb.

Easy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Easy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I recently brought this easy Black Bean Soup to a pot luck lunch party at my office.  It was a breeze. I actually threw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning in my office and let it cook there until lunch time. The big problem was that I let it cook in my office next to my desk. I nearly ate my arm off trying to not dive head first into the slow cooker and devour the entire thing.

But thankfully I had enough self control to hold off until it was time to serve so that everyone could try it. You’re welcome people!

I recommend this recipe for anyone looking for something super easy and cheap during the weeknight, weekend, or even for entertaining. This is an all around great soup! If you are going on a ski vacation and want to come home to something hearty and wholesome… this is your soup.  If you are just coming home from a long work week, this is your soup.  If you are having some friends over for game night, this is your soup.

I promise it to be a winner. It will satisfy both meat eaters and veggie eaters! It also will be easy on your pocket book and be super stress free.

Easy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Easy Black Bean Soup // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Time: 6 hours on low; 3 hours on high
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 4 cans of black beans (undrained)*
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup salsa of choice (I use Trader Joe’s salsa)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (reserve half of cilantro for topping)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • Toppings: greek yogurt, chopped scallions, lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Place two of the four cans of black beans (with liquid) in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Puree for about 15 seconds. Add pureed black beans and remaining ingredients through salsa into a slow cooker. Cook on low for at least 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
  2. Just before serving, stir in half of cilantro and juice of 1 lime. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve with greek yogurt (or sour cream), chopped scallions, lime wedges, and additional cilantro.

*Note – this recipe can definitely be made with dried black beans but will take about 2 hours longer to cook.   Rinse and soak them overnight. Drain them and then puree half of them (about 4 cups) with 2 cups of water. Add all ingredients to slow cooker as mentioned above.  Cooking time will increase by 2 hours, with it taking 8 hours on low and 5 hours on high.